There is a growing attitude that is driving much of our culture today: When you have something that you have to do, figure out how to do it faster. Then, figure out how to cut that delivery time in half. This philosophy has already been applied to online bill pay, e-commerce, and even speed dating. Learning is not excluded from this growing expectation. An October 2012 Skillsoft study found CEOs want more training in less time and are willing to pay for delivery in a format that reduces employee time away from their job.
Our team has already noticed an increase in requests to consolidate one to two day trainings into four hour segments. We predict this trend will grow in the next five years as available training periods are shortened and training subjects are combined. Integrated learning such as English as a Second Language (ESL) courses paired with manufacturing principles, and Customer Service training paired with Business Writing is the way of the future.
A 2013 Learning & Development Technology Report by Impact Instruction Group identified e-learning as the number one investment for corporate learning in 2013. Of the companies surveyed, 86% will be focused on investing in webinars and video for their learning delivery initiatives. The study also identified the following trends: Ever-shorter and more focused e-learning courses, an expectation for increased sophistication of learning activities that use higher level critical thinking skills, and video segments will be shortened to no more than 3 to 5 minutes.
The 2012 Corporate Learning Factbook Report by Bersin & Deloitte revealed significant growth in social learning over the last 5 years. This study also predicted that social media platforms like twitter and yammer will become more pervasive as micro-sharing capabilities expand. Microlearning, discrete chunks of information or skill-based knowledge, will be delivered in short bursts of time from 30 seconds to 2 minutes in length.
The Need for Speed in Learning is on the rise. Will you be able to keep up? Invista Performance Solutions operates at the speed of business. We are here to help your business run as fast as a cheetah and increase your bottom line.
Here at Invista, we specialize in creating and delivering engaging and impactful training solutions to businesses, non-profits and government agencies. If your organization is putting together a training program, we wanted to share some “dos” and “don’ts” to make your sure your training has a positive and profitable impact on the learners and your business.
Do train your employees!
“The only thing worse than training employees and losing them is not training them and keeping them.”
~ Zig Ziglar
Don’t separate learners by seniority.
Sure, putting an Executive in a 101 training program may not be the best use of their time, but people in the same class tend to bond. You don’t want to create the “us vs. them” mentality and establish divisions where they may not have already existed.
Do thoroughly explain the “What’s in it for them”.
Don’t implement a training program if you don’t plan to follow through.
Learning is a process, not an event. It takes time to break old habits and to build new ones. Through follow-up activities and organizational support you can fight the learning loss – which begins to occur as soon as participants walk out of the classroom.
Do use all the senses.
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”
An Invista best-practice is the use of physical objects such as Kosh Balls, Bendy Men Toys, or Toy Construction Sets. Not only does this give participants a take away, it incorporates the tactile experience into learning, which has been proven to increase retention.
What other “Dos and Don’ts” do you incorporate into corporate education?
Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day. I think it is safe to say that few of us would be where we are now if it weren’t for those who were willing to teach us along the way. Teaching comes in all shapes and sizes, and happens when we aren’t expecting it. Right now in corporate education “informal learning” is a popular term, and in an article featured in the Chief Learning Officer Bob Mosher discusses how the vague nature of informal learning makes it difficult to decide what exactly it is. Is it coffee break discussions, or is it learning applications on cell phones? Mosher focuses on digital and electronic learning systems that can be used at will by the individual, such as mobile learning and other such applications.
I would argue that learning that takes places outside of both the classroom and formalized learning applications should also be included in the definition of “informal learning.” The learning that takes place on the job, in conversations with coworkers, meetings with managers and team members, and in working on new projects is just as valuable as learning that takes place in an app, or in a classroom. Many companies have processes and ways of doing things that aren’t formally taught, and these are the things that should be learned informally. Company history and culture are things that are not taught, but are valuable for employees to know. If we didn’t informally learn from each other on a daily basis, much would be lost from generation to generation of employees. With many Baby Boomers nearing retirement age, and many younger Generation Y employees entering the workplace, it is more important than ever for employees to learn from each other, and to soak up as much knowledge as they can. If this type of informal learning does not occur much company culture and company historical knowledge will be lost. So on National Teacher Appreciation Day, make sure to thank not only your past school teachers and past instructors, but thank your coworkers, because you teach each other new things every day.
I just finished reading an Achieve Global study of customer service experiences that included more than 5,000 respondents. The data was compelling and a good reminder of we can do to provide meaningful experiences for our clients. Here is a quick recap of their findings:
· More than 1/3 of consumers have posted a negative comment online about a company
· 93% of consumers will refuse to do business with a company again after 3 or fewer bad experiences
· Consumers greatly prefer personal interaction to resolve an issue or problem and 81% of respondents wanted that interaction to be by phone or in person versus 20% who wanted it to be by email or text
Consumer tolerance and patience is shorter than ever before. With most of life’s necessities available on the internet, consumers are in the driver’s seat and can quickly switch to another business to have their needs met. So, how do we compete? The study identifies three ways to improve customer experience:
Defining Moments: Customer service must be a priority for every employee in the company. Employees need to be empowered to be creative problem solvers and come up with alternate solutions that satisfy the consumer.
Net Promoter Score: This measurement is an indicator of the likelihood of a customer recommending your organization to someone else. If you are not sure what this is then open your office door and ask tech savvy employees about your company net promoter score. Monitor this score monthly and use the data as a benchmark for improvement.
Emotional Effort: As a leader, model authentic empathy for others and genuine concern for their satisfaction. Set emotional effort as an expected standard of behavior of all employees in the company.
Today’s consumers share their opinion on every subject and they do it all the time. That is why customer experience is critical to business performance. Is your company prepared to be liked?
Today I came across an article by Anthony Iannarino, titled “Attitude Checklist.” (The article can be found here ) He says that we get to choose our attitude, and he gives a list of moods and feelings that we can choose to engage with, or instead choose to let go. He includes negative feelings, like depressed, tired, bored, adversarial and uninterested. He then has a list of better feelings like helpful, engaging, passionate, determined, and confident. My big take away was that in every situation we are making a deliberate choice in how to feel, and how to react to what is going on. If we keep in mind that attitude is a choice we can cut down on the number of situations where we feel stressed, hurried, or generally don’t feel good.
In another book, The Rock Warrior’s Way, by Arno Ilgner, he brings to light the concept of how we don’t have to do anything, everything is a choice. We don’t have to go to work we are choosing to go to work. The reasons behind our choices are numerous, for the work example, you may choose to work because you want to earn money for a new car. Understanding our motivations is key in realizing that everything is a choice. You could choose not to work, but then you cannot afford a new car. It is about choice. We make a choice in how we view the events in our life, and we also make choices in the attitude we have towards choices. When you are faced with a tough situation how will you choose to feel?
Absenteeism, turnover, disability, insurance costs, workplace accidents, violence, workers’ compensation and lawsuits can all be negative results of too much workplace stress. Work pressures and expectations are rising – and with them, the levels of your employees stress.
Studies cited by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) indicate that some 40% of all workers today feel overworked, pressured, and squeezed to the point of anxiety, depression, and disease. From this increased stress, a new phenomenon is emerging, “presenteeism” – people coming to work ill: Which as we all know, leads to more people taking sick days.
According to a 2012 study by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, more employers (44%) report an increase in mental health problems and two-fifths report an increase in stress-related absence over the past year. Perhaps you have noticed these trends in your own work environment (I hope not!)?
Invista regularly works with organizations in developing wellness programs. What has your company being doing to address workplace stress?
Now is the time to get outside! Now that spring is here with sunshine and flowers it is time to take advantage of the improving weather and really make a move toward spending more time outside and being more active. Last week was National Walking Day, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. More people are taking their weekly meetings on the move and instead of sitting across a desk they are going for walking meetings that combine both exercise and work responsibilities.
Increased levels of exercise have more than one benefit. Taking a walk during the day can help wake you up, and help you to think better. A study in 2010 found that walking 40 minutes three times a week can improve connectivity in the brain, increase performance on cognitive tasks and battle decline in brain function associated with aging. So next time you are stuck on a problem, get up and take a quick walk to clear your mind. Spring is here now, and summer is on its way, and its bringing some great weather. When was the last time you took a working walk?
The aesthetics of a messy, cluttered desk are not ideal for any office environment. The real issue with this is the unnecessary time and energy you spend looking for important documents or necessary office supplies. This wasted time not only affects your productivity, but also your motivation. Jane Veldhoven, a professional organizer based in Halifax says, “Maintaining your organized office requires your time and energy, and a daily and weekly commitment to picking up and putting things away.”
Does your office confidently say, “A professional accomplishes things in this space?” or does it scream “Call security! My office has been ransacked!” Take the time to evaluate what has changed and what needs to change. Did you get a little sloppy with your filing, filling your in-box saying “this can be done tomorrow?” Here are a few tips to keep your office organized:
1. Get Rid of Old Papers – Chances are many of the stacks of papers piled on your desk are not of any value to you. They could simply be reminders or other items that need to be dealt with and put away. You need to ask yourself: Do I need this? Why? Where will I look for it when I need it? Sometimes emails or reports really do not need to be printed out. Ask yourself if it would be best if you created a folder on your computer for some items rather than printing them out and finding a home for them in print form.
2. Subscription Overload – Does your office look like a library? Consider having your favorite magazine sent electronically. Sharing your breadth of knowledge is certainly one way of keeping them off your desk for a while. When they are returned to you, scan your favorite articles and save them on your computer. Then toss the magazine.
3. Organize your Email – How many items do you have in your email in-box? Does your boss ask you to pull up that email he sent you 18 months ago, you know that one with the graph we discussed? A flooded in-box is overwhelming. First, create an “actions” folder and go through your in-box and place all emails that you need to take action on. Next, create a “temp” folder and file everything that is still in your in-box into this folder. For all new emails that come in beyond this, open one at a time and follow these actions: 1) delete (use this liberally), 2) archive, 3) quick reply (four sentences or less) and then archive, 4) put on your to-do list for action and then file into your new “action” folder. Following these actions will keep your in-box organized and in tip top shape.
4. De-clutter your desktop – When your favorite desktop background starts to get covered up with icons, it is time to de-clutter your desktop. File away documents that you will need again, and send everything else off to the virtual recycle bin. Not only will you have a much more attractive looking desktop screen, but you will save countless hours searching for your important documents.
One last suggestion – slow down! One of the biggest pitfalls to cleaning and organization is finding the time. Invest the time to properly organize your space so files, supplies, and other items are in an easy-to-find, easy-to-remember place. Once you’ve established a system that works for you, stick to it! Spending a few seconds to return items to a designated spot will help you save lots of time in the long run.
As a “cusp” member of Generation Y (or the Millennial’s) I have always been fascinated by labels and trends associated with this generation (I was born right in the middle of the Gen X/Gen Y switch over). Since American birth-rates peaked in the 1990s, this generation has also been known as the “echo-boomers” because of its large size.
Generation Y is known for demanding flexible work hours, rebelling against the corporate status quo, poor interpersonal skills, high expectations, and fully incorporating technology into their personal and professional lives. Since they (well we), are literally the future, companies are scrambling to accommodate, recruit, and train Gen Y’ers into productive employees.
The influence of this generation is hard to understate. The explosion of social media and the election of President Barak Obama speak directly to the catalyzing power of us millennial’s. As we enter and advance in the workplace, we bring explosive and innovative benefits, and require a different focus for our professional development.
A world of information is at our figure tips and we are the best at efficiently accessing it. However, when it comes down to being productive in a company meeting, or having a face to face conversation about performance (either being managed, or managing someone else) – there is a skills gap. As Generation Y moves into management rolls I foresee a strong need for basic supervisory skills and professional communication training to drive our success in, and our ultimate take-over of, the workplace.
What concerns do you have about Generation Y advancing in your company?
Invista Performance Solutions is growing and we are looking for individuals to add to our team. If you are intrigued with working in an entrepreneurial+educational environment then consider applying for our open positions. We have added two new positions:
We are a dedicated group of professionals seeking others who have a positive and energetic attitude and enjoy working in a fast paced team atmosphere.
For optimal consideration, get your application in as soon as possible.